Comedian Gilbert Gottfried Has Died After A Long Illness, His Family Said

"Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor," his family said in a statement.

Scott Roth / AP

Actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died after a "long illness," his family said on Tuesday. He was 67.

"We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness," a statement from his family said. "In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor."

Twitter: @RealGilbert

Gottfried was known for his outrageous voice acting and fearlessly crude humor, which earned him the reputation as a comedian's comedian. He voiced the parrot Iago in Aladdin and was blacklisted from the Emmys after joking about masturbation in his monologue at the 1991 awards show.

Gottfried also voiced the duck mascot of the insurance company Aflac from 2000 until 2011, when he was fired after making a series of jokes on Twitter about the deadly tsunami in Japan, where Aflac did most of its business.

He also notoriously joked about 9/11 just three weeks after the attacks, at a Hugh Hefner roast in New York City. Upon realizing that he had lost the crowd, Gottfried then gave his take on the infamous joke known as "the Aristocrats," which won the audience back and was later turned into a documentary.

"I love to go where it’s a dark area,” he told the New York Times in 2013. “You never know what people will choose to be offended by.”

Gottfried often directed his humor at himself, too. In an interview with Vulture in 2019, he said a popular comedy club in New York City called the Improv would put him onstage "to clear the audience out at the end of the night." He also said his anxiety about performing in front of a crowd had grown worse over the years.

Gottfried appeared in a number of TV shows, including Hollywood Squares, Celebrity Paranormal Project, and Celebrity Wife Swap, in which his wife Dara Gottfried swapped places with Alan Thicke's wife, Tanya Callau.

Charles Sykes / AP

Gilbert Gottfried appears onstage at Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs at the Beacon Theatre on Feb. 28, 2015, in New York.

In January, after his close friend and fellow comedian Bob Saget died suddenly, Gottfried expressed his disbelief in an interview with Good Morning America.

"I ... thought it was a sick joke and I was waiting for the punch line and then it didn't come," he said. "I still feel right now like I'm waiting for the punch line to happen, that it was all a big joke, it was all a hoax."

Gottfried is survived by his wife — whom he met at a Grammys party — and his two children.

The comedian's death was first announced by actor Jason Alexander on Twitter.

Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift. I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family. #ripGilbertGottfried

Twitter: @IJasonAlexander

Other comedians and actors also shared their memories of Gottfried.

RIP Gilbert. Opening for Gilbert Gottfried at Carolines and Princeton Catch was one of the great thrills of my early stand up life. He could leave you gasping for breath…just indescribably unusually hilarious…Damn.

Twitter: @jonstewart

On the set of Problem Child 2. Dear, sweet, hilarious Gilbert.

Twitter: @larainenewman

Rest In Peace Gilbert Gottfried! First time I saw him live he did his Jackie Kennedy bit: “Jackie do you remember where you were…” in front of drunk Bruins fans at Nicks. #RIPGilbertGottfried https://t.co/9w0offZEZG

Twitter: @billburr

BuzzFeed News has reached out to a representative for Gottfried for further comment.

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